UNISON members at Saint Monicas Trust care homes in Bristol are striking against the threat of new contracts imposed without negotiation. Bristol rs21 report from their picket line and support rally.

picket line at St Monicas Cote Lane site – picture by Josh Connor.

Care workers have been on strike at four separate sites on multiple days over the last week with enthusiastic participation on the picket lines, including many staff who only joined the union since February following the proposed enforcement of new contracts by management. These new contracts could cost some staff thousands of pounds of earnings,  and they feel that the changes will reduce the quality of care the residents in the care homes receive.

Public support for the strikes has been good, with many relatives of residents offering their support to the strikers and a range of local organisations and unions attending the picket lines in solidarity. In a wonderful example of solidarity,On Saturday 2 July strikers  a security guard who had been brought on for the strike period spoke to the strikers when they arrived and said they didn’t realise there was a strike taking place and that they’d not take any more shifts there.

Strikers also held a rally on Saturday 2 July in a local community centre, where striking staff were given standing ovations as they spoke about their concerns over the new contracts. Speakers from the RMT and the South-West TUC offered their solidarity to the strikers, and recorded messages from Mick Lynch and Jeremy Corbyn giving their support to the strikers were shown.

Strikes are continuing on Tuesday 5 July and then on the Sunday 10 until Tuesday 12 July. Details about how to contribute to the strike fund or how to contact the strikers with support can be found here: https://southwest.unison.org.uk/news/2022/06/donate-to-the-st-monica-trust-strike-fund/

UNISON health workers were also striking last week at eight sites in Lancashire for parity with colleagues directly employed by the NHS – Greater Manchester rs21 report.

Striking health workers in Blackburn – photo by Greater Manchester rs21

OCS picket line in Blackburn 30 June. Porters, caterers and cleaners who are UNISON members were on day two of a three-day strike this week.

OCS is a private company providing services in the NHS but not paying the same rates of sick pay or holidays as workers directly employed by the NHS get. The strikers were getting lots of support from passing workers and NHS staff at the hospital.

There have been several similar disputes to this in the north-west region recently for parity with NHS employees.

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